Last Days at La Posa South – Winter Journey – January 2018

Saturday January 13: Mild temperatures continue here at La Posa South in southwest Arizona.

Mornings in the Arizona desert

I continue the usual daily activities of journal writing, editing, and music with Rollie. We make a couple of videos of medleys of bluegrass songs we are playing. Clifford spends his days working on the Carnicom Institute Legacy Project, his ham radio, and playing the dulcimer. Today’s unique activity is going to a concert at QIA: the New Christy Minstrels with a couple of the original band members still active in this group, Randy Sparks, for one. It was a very fun concert.

Sunday January 14: My morning desert walk is a time of stillness, appreciating the beauty of the desert.


Morning desert walk

The usual daily activities follow. We all play music and in the evening have dinner, which always includes Rollie and Ninja, at the campfire.

Monday January 15: Today’s temperature: 44/70, not bad for mid-January.

The rising of the sun

Today is a town day – errands, shopping, and laundromat. In the evening, as I’m doing music with Rollie, new neighbors come over to listen for a bit. They are also bluegrass musicians and we might try to get together.

Dinner at the campfire, which we all enjoy.

Tuesday January 16: I’ve decided to start learning Morse Code, since I hear it so much as Clifford is doing his ham radio stuff. It sure does take a lot of listening concentration.

Later, while walking in the wash, I call my good friends, Ken and Shelley Anne, as today is Ken’s birthday. He and I have been friends since we met in orchestra as 7th graders.

After dinner at the campfire, I start reading another Tony Hillerman novel, which I especially like since the setting is the Southwest.

Wednesday January 17: Clifford, Rollie, and I go to Quartzsite this morning to go to the RV show that is advertised. However, when we get there, we find out it doesn’t start until the 20th.

On the way back to camp, we see a little sign alongside the road announcing live music this evening at an RV parked not far from the entrance to La Posa South. We head down there in the early evening and are the first to show up at a campfire where a young woman, Audrey Callahan, and her guitar-playing husband are going to do live music. She is friendly and chats with us until more people arrive. Her singing is quite the treat indeed and we thoroughly enjoy her selection of songs, some of which she has written herself. At the end, she mentions doing travel videos, so I stay and chat with her, being interested in travel videos and blogs, and we exchange FB contact info. I do hope we can stay in touch.

Back at camp, dinner is late, and Clifford, Rollie, and I chat until almost midnight.

Thursday January 18: Today is moving day. We pack up and are ready to leave by mid-morning. Rollie is going Midland, the long-term BLM place north of Blythe so he can attend the bluegrass festival at Blythe. Clifford and I are going back to Roadrunner to get ready for Quartzfest, the ham radio week-long gathering. Our previous spot has been taken by other campers, so we find another place along the same small wash, but closer to the Quartzfest event center. A table and chairs hold a place for Rollie for when he joins us.

We get set up: antennas and radios for Clifford, organizing stuff and defrosting the fridge for me.

Clifford sets up his ham radio antenna

There is a mesquite tree and a big old saguaro right behind the camper, which I am most grateful for.

Old saguaro right behind the camper

La Posa was a great place and I wish we could have stayed longer, but this will do for now, as we need to be here for Quartzfest.

We have a simple dinner tonight and I read until after midnight. Clifford is up even later with his ham radio stuff. Quartzfest is quite an exciting time for him.

Arizona Desert Days – Winter Journey – January 2018

Monday January 9: Today’s temps: 53/74, about the same temperatures as yesterday, but cloudy this morning with a forecast for rain. I have tea with Rollie while Clifford goes to the hardware store in Quartzsite. The clouds move off, so looks like the rain passed us by and I am able to charge my laptop. In the afternoon, the wind comes up, bringing storm clouds with it. The heavy rain is quite exciting and as the storm passes, there is an outstanding rainbow over the desert.

Windsocks blowing in the wind
Beautiful double rainbow after the storm has passed
More of the span of the rainbow, too close to get in the whole arc

I play music with Rollie at his place and he comes over to our place for dinner. Kind of crowded, but it is too wet for music or meals outside. However, no complaints from us. Rain in the desert is a real treat, especially when topped off by a rainbow.

Tuesday January 10: Cooler today and damp. The morning desert walk is especially beautiful, as the landscape is moist and clean today after yesterday’s rain.

Walking in the wash – everything clean and fresh after yesterday’s rainstorm

A favorite big tree – most likely a tree variety of mesquite

Clifford is on the phone with Straight Talk for quite awhile and hopefully has the hotspot issue worked out. I work on emails today, being able to get on the net to take care of some of it, but use my cell as much as I can.

Rollie comes over for chicken and rice dinner at our place. He went to Lake Havasu for errands today and it wasn’t much fun for him, but dinner together is a nice way to end the day.

Wednesday January 11: Today’s temps: 44/66 and sunny.

Walking in the dessert, I take photos at sunrise, enjoying the warmth of the sun after it clears the horizon and I linger for a longer time of stillness before the activities of the day.

The saguaro seems to be enjoying the sun as much as I am

Today is more of the good sameness as previous days: walking in the desert, editing, music with Rollie, and dinner at the campfire.

Thursday January 12: Similar weather and daily activities with the addition of writing an essay to send to my daughter Merri recounting the births of my kids. She has a project in mind that needs input from all of us as to our recollection of events, seeing how different people have different perspectives on the same event. This will be quite an interesting project as it develops.

Saguaro with his Palo Verde pal
Desert companions

As Clifford, Rollie, and I sit around the campfire after dinner, we have an extended conversation about music and the development of instruments, and as we talk I work on the afghan I started yesterday for my granddaughter Jasmine’s baby-on-the-way.

Arizona Earth and Sky – Winter Journey – January 2018

Friday January 5: Today’s temps: 45/76 and mostly sunny. Doesn’t get much better than this.

Today wasn’t a particularly productive day, but I got a few things ready for the post office for the next time we go to town. Clifford has a couple of business calls to take care of, but mostly he focuses on his ham radio. Rollie and I do music in the afternoon and then we all have dinner at the campfire.

Music at the campfire.

I stay up until midnight to finish reading the Tony Hillerman novel that I started a few days ago.

Saturday January 6: Slightly warmer than yesterday, but cloudy.


I go for a morning walk in the early morning, leaving the camper when there is just enough light to see to walk safely. It is a wonderful mysterious time of day.

Clifford and I decide to go to Parker for errands and supplies, as Quartzsite is somewhat lacking in what we need. We are back at camp in time for a quick dinner and then we all head off to the QIA venue, which Clifford jokingly calls the Geriatric Improvement Association since most of the audience are seniors. Tonight is the McDougal Peter, Paul, & Mary concert. This group plays Peter, Paul, & Mary songs in the Peter, Paul, & Mary style. They are very good and the concert was most enjoyable. Later, back at camp, we discover that Clifford’s new binoculars are missing and suspect they were on the hood of the car when we left.

Sunday January 7: Slightly cooler today and jet trails mar the sky.

First thing this morning, I walk out to the main road looking for the missing binoculars, but they must have fallen off further down the road and are no where to be found. Rollie and I make a morning campfire and sit outside to enjoy our hot beverages. Clifford has a ham net in the morning, so does not join us.

In the afternoon Clifford goes to the gun show in Quartzsite. I thought I’d get a lot done while he is gone, but the hotspot is not working and it is too cloudy to charge my laptop. Ah well, play music with Rollie instead. We have nachos for dinner at the campfire after Clifford gets home.

Clean up and then read until bedtime, starting a different Tony Hillerman novel.

Monday January 8: Temps: 54/72 and cloudy.

I go for a walk in the desert before sunrise and catch some of the delicate pretty color of this morning’s offering.

Pretty sunrise color

After breakfast, Clifford and I go for a hike across the desert to the mountain that we see in the background to the east.

Heading across the basin to Shale Mountain (as I call it)
The mountain in the distance is where we are headed

This mountain, actually a hill, is made of shale and covered with beautiful pieces of quartz. Being away from the path of most folks, the rocks are not picked over and I could have taken a truckload, but have to settle for a few that will fit in my fanny pack.

Quartz, some with embedded crystals… photos do not do them justice for their beauty

I love the desert here… the stark rugged mountains, along with the vegetation and the beautiful rocks.

View from our picnic spot on the side of Shale Mountain
Looking like a couple of wild desert rats

About a 5-mile hike… good for the legs and the soul.

Back at camp I do some editing and send a query letter to Ang for her approval. Then Rollie and I play music at the campfire ring. We have dinner there and sit around the fire chatting until quite late.

New Year in the Desert – January 2018

Monday January 1 – Temps: 37/70, kind of scummy looking. Breezy in the afternoon.

I sit in the wash to read – the warmth of the weak sunshine feels good. As soon as my laptop is charged, I do some edits for Ang and suggest another agent for her book, “Dragons of Va’Ha’Den.”

We have a chili dinner at our place (too windy this evening to have a campfire). Later I finish the book I have been reading, “A Wild Thing,” and it has such a depressing ending that I feel annoyed for having spent so much time reading this past week. A rather uneventful first day of the New Year.

Tuesday January 2 – Temps: 46/73

I walk to the east beyond the wash.

Crossing the wash

Before me is uninhabited desert all the way across the basin. The desert lends itself to serenity. No wonder wise and holy men and women throughout history have spend time in the desert. It is not a punishment; the essence of a desert of this nature makes it possible to achieve a deeper meditative state just by being here.

Cholla in the desert

We decide to go exploring, taking the main La Posa road deeper into the desert, beyond the boundary of the BLM camping area and into the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.


We thought we might be able to make a loop to Crystal Hill, but the road is blocked. We hang out for a bit, admiring the scenery – too bad I didn’t bring a picnic lunch for us – and gather a few of the extraordinary rocks that are abundant here.

Hanging out in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge with Clifford, Ninja, and Rollie
We consider driving over that “hill,” but decide against it – maybe more exploring than we really want to do
Looking south – Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Back at camp, I do some editing before starting dinner. Dinner is at the campfire tonight, which make the meal a fun adventure. Later, before bedtime, I begin reading a Tony Hillerman novel, only to discover that I’ve already read it. Ah well…. It was still a very good day.

Wednesday January 3 – Temps: 40/69 and cloudy all day.

I walk in the desert for photos at sunrise, then make a pot of yerba matte tea and start a campfire.

Sunrise colors

Rollie joins me, coffee in hand, and we chat as we sip our hot drinks. I do enjoy a morning campfire!

Enjoying a morning campfire. Notice the additions to the fire ring .

In the afternoon, we make the 30-mile trip to Blythe, California, to a small music store, as Rollie needs strings for his mandolin. Very nice lady owner there.  Long-story-short, Rollie and I end up playing some bluegrass music on store-instruments: Rollie on a guitar and me on a cello. What a hoot!

Back at camp, we have a late dinner of left-over chili and then I start a different Tony Hillerman novel, reading until well after midnight.

Thursday January 4 – Temps: 43/73 and mostly sunny.

I walk in the desert and take photos, glad to have some sunshine and blue sky overhead instead of jet trails and murk. I sure do love our spot and the unencumbered desert here.

The sun has risen over the wash

Very cool old trees grow in and along the wash
The moon sets over trees in the wash

In mail that was forwarded to us at Quartzsite, I have a letter from Social Security indicating a problem with my allotment. The nearest SS office is in Blythe, and due to a deadline to take care of this, we make another trip to Blythe. I read as I wait for my turn to be seen and when I finally see the woman, she is not the least helpful. I have to dig for every bit of information to know how to proceed.

Back at camp, we have a quick soup dinner, as we are going to a music presentation at the Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) venue. This proves to be a community event with some very accomplished performers and some just so-so, but everyone’s contribution is appreciated by the mostly senior citizen audience. Maybe Rollie and I could play there sometime; it is something for us to consider.

LaPosa South – Winter Journey – December 2017

Friday December 29: Today’s temp: 38/71 and clear. Today is moving day and we have decided to go to La Posa South, a long-term BLM place just to the north of Roadrunner on 95, for several reasons. One: it is close; two: water and dumpsters are available at La Posa; and 3: it is close enough to Quartzsite to attend events that are coming up soon. I have seen La Posa South from the highway and it looks crowded – like a sea of RV’s without much vegetation for privacy. So, I have my reservations about moving there, but it is only for a couple of weeks.

We pack up and head to La Posa South, parking at the entrance to pay our fee, then driving in to find a spot. The further in we go, the fewer RV’s there are and the more vegetation. We find a side road and then a hint of a road that takes us out to a very wide wash.

A hint of a road takes us to a wide wash

The trees here are tall and lush, the shrubs thick, so there is privacy from other campers in the area. Beyond the wash is uninhabited natural desert all the way to the mountain on the far side of the basin. Looks like we have found a good spot.

Once we get our rigs set up, we decide where to make a fire ring, picking a gravel bar just a ways out in the wash and protected by trees and shrubs.

Getting our rigs set up

The gravel bar will need some leveling, but we will leave that until tomorrow. I make smooth pathways from the camper to the gravel bar for safer walking,

Paths from the gravel bar to the the campers

Clifford gets his ham radio set up right away, and Rollie does what he does to get comfortable.

I take photos at sunset, happy to be here in this beautiful spot.

Looking east at sundown
Another view from our campsite at sundown


Saturday December 30: Today: 40/74 – great temperature, especially for December.

Today is settling-in day: reorganizing, sweeping and mopping, hanging out lanterns and wind socks, and so on. While Rollie goes to a jam session, I watch Ninja and begin leveling the gravel bar. Rocks are are abundant in the wash, so I start getting a fire ring in place. When Rollie returns, he brings firewood and levels the gravel bar even more so we can set up a picnic table and chairs. The fire ring is a work of art in progress as we both gather rocks and add to it.

From the wash, viewing the gravel bar center of operations

Good day for playing music outside and the gravel bar becomes our music center. First Rollie and I do some bluegrass music, then Clifford gets out his dulcimer.

Getting set up to play music: Clifford and Rollie
View from camper: Clifford plays his dulcimer. Fire ring hidden by shrubs

When the afternoon begins to cool, we build a great campfire and have nachos for dinner sitting around a cheery blaze.

Cheery blaze; fire ring a work of art in progress


Sunday December 31: Today: 41/69 and overcast; jet trails mar the sky, so no photos with sky today, but beautiful rocks remain a delight.

Beautiful rocks – many quartz – are in abundance

Rollie and I run errands in Quartzsite in the morning while Clifford stays at camp and works with his ham radios. In the late afternoon we go to a bluegrass jam session with several musicians gathered around a campfire. Rollie is able to join in on all the songs, but I am limited to following the most basic chord progressions. But it was fun.

I read “A Wild Thing” when I go to bed, but am asleep before midnight; Clifford is still up, just listening to his radios – so the New Year, 2018, arrives without any fanfare on our part.

Roadrunner Days – Winter Journey – December 2017

Tuesday December 26: The sky is mucked up with jet trails today, so no photos, even though I do go for a long walk. Rolly has gone to Lake Havasu for errands; Bill and Sally leave for their home in Dillon, Montana. It was fun having them here this past week. Later, after Rollie returns, he and I play music at the campfire. Then dinner at our place. We look into moving to Mule Mountain, a long-term BLM place in California, after our 14 days is up here, but more cons than pros, so will pick someplace closer to Quartzsite. Read “Eight Girls Taking Pictures” before I go to bed.

Wednesday December 27: Today is errand day, not a particularly fun day, but we return to camp with clean clothes, propane, water, food, and no trash. Besides reorganizing my clothes area to make room for the clean items, I write an agent letter for Ang and read “Eight Girls Taking Pictures,” appreciating how much harder it was (is) for a woman to make her way in a male-dominated field, since it almost always falls upon a woman to maintain the domestic front, often pushing her personal and career desires to a back burner.

Thursday December 28: Today’s temp: 35/72. It is mostly clear when I get up, so I go for a long walk catching images of the rising sun, appreciating what the first light brings to a scene.

Early morning light on the mountain to the west of the camping area
The rising of the sun
The warmth of morning light on a decaying desert tree
Looking beyond

Rollie goes to a jam session with friends at Lake Havasu, so no music here today and I catch up on other things, editing, sending off the agent letter, and finishing “Eight Girls Taking Pictures.

Saguaros in the Arizona Sonoran Desert
Saguaro and Palo Verde are desert friends, often growing close to one another

Another walkabout before sunset, enjoying the light at this time of day.

Mountains to the west near sunset

Solstice to Christmas at Roadrunner – December 2017

Thursday December 21 – Today’s temperature: 42/56, windy and chilly. Today is the Winter Solstice, which I celebrate by walking around collecting rocks, many beautiful white quartz streaked with colors. Some of these will be added to our campfire ring and a chosen few will go home with me.

Roadrunner at La Paz Valley: Carol and Clifford to the left, Bill and Sally in the middle, Rollie to the right

I do some editing today, clean out a storage space- simplifying and organizing being essential in tiny homes, and look into essential oils good for maintaining healthy skin. Later we all go to Bill and Sally’s 5th wheel for tasty burritos for dinner. Fun to share meals with family.

Friday December 22 – Today’s temperature: 28/58 and clear. Today we make a trip to Quartzsite for gas and propane, stopping at the market and Dollar General to get little gifts for everyone. Bill barbecues  great burgers at his place, then Rollie and I do music there, as the 5th wheel is considerably roomier than either Rollie’s camper or ours. My fingers are still sore, but the blister is going away, and I can play more bluegrass songs with Rollie on either mandolin or fiddle.

Bill has made a “Christmas tree” out of tire irons or something and a lighted rope, and I add a few inexpensive ornaments from Dollar General. It looks a bit odd in the daytime, but is beautiful at night!

The beautiful La Paz Christmas Tree made by Bill

Saturday December 23 – Today’s temperature: 30/61, pretty sunrise color, but overcast all day.


Colors at sunrise – La Paz Valley, Arizona

Today is our anniversary; too chilly for an outing, but it is good just to spend the day together.

Reorganize another storage area so as to find the ornaments and get them hung up along our back window. These are some of my old-time favorites; glad they are still with me. My daughter Merri calls and we have an interesting conversation about how the health of one generation can strengthen or weaken later generations, and not always in the way one might think. Then I go on a walkabout with Bill, Sally, and Rollie with the metal detector, finding a couple old coins, but mostly junk. After that, Rollie and I do music at our place, as it is too windy to play outside. Crowded, but better than not playing at all.

Day’s end at La Paz Valley

I begin reading “Eight Girls Taking Pictures,” staying up later than intended.

Sunday December 24Today’s temperature: 31/67 and mostly sunny. We knew it would be warmer today, so have planned an outing to Crystal Hill. The turnoff to Crystal Hill is just four or five miles south on 95, and the rather rough road crosses BLM land before entering the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. At the collection area, which is designated by a map at the Crystal Hill boundary, we discover a mostly vacant campground with some really nice sites along a wide wash at the base of Crystal Hill.

Clifford and Rollie cross the wash at Crystal Hill
Smoke trees grow in the wash at Crystal Hill

Clifford and I hike to the top of the hill – good to stretch our hiking muscles at bit.

King of the Mountain: Clifford on Crystal Hill
Surviving on Crystal Hill

Although crystals can be found here, it is beautiful quartz pieces that are found in abundance and we each keep a small collection, a limit of 10 per person, per the collection rules.

Back at camp, we have tasty egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch, sitting outside. Today, with good solar and a bit of luck with the hotspot, I am able to get on the internet and do some agent research for Ang for “By Wing, By, Wild, By Wisdom,” the first book of the Dragons of Va’ha’den series. Looking for agents is new to me and there is a lot to learn, but we hope to find an agent to pick up her series.

Later, we have a delicious chicken dinner, again thanks to Bill’s great cooking (and my contributions of quinoa and rice) around a campfire. Then we open the gifts placed around the little Christmas tree. Bill and Sally are very generous and our little gifts add to the enjoyment of all. As soon as it gets too chilly to sit outside, we all go to the 5th wheel where Rollie and I play music, a nice long session until my fingers get too sore.

I finish out the day with sending Christmas greetings to all of my kids, grateful for the cell phone which allows me to text or message all of them. What a great day!

Monday December 25: Today’s temperature: 36/64. Colorful sunrise this Christmas morning, but my cell died after one pic; luckily I got a few shots with the camera before the sunrise faded.

Christmas sunrise

Tea and journal while it is still quiet, meditating on the meaning of the Christmas celebration. Then the day proceeds with the usual activities, but somehow everything seems special.

Bill fixes a great ham dinner for all of us and we eat around the campfire. After dinner Rollie and I do music together until my fingers are too sore. Back at our place, I read “Eight Girls…” while Clifford works with his radios; he is getting back into Morse code and other modes of communication.

So happy to have spent these days with family, sharing meals, outings, and special celebrations. Times of sharing are never to be taken for granted!

Winter Trip 2017 Begins – December 13 & 14

Wednesday – December 13, 2017

Early morning light on the tree at the corner

We were not sure that today would actually be our leaving day, but in checking the weather, we see a high wind warning for tomorrow. That means we either leave today, or we will have to wait until Friday. So, we begin the final preparations of getting the house for us to be gone and finishing packing. Almost everything is checked off the master list, which has been on the fridge for weeks.

It is almost 4:00 by time we are ready to leave, rather a late start, but we are on our way.

Leaving Monticello, heading south
Our route is not far from the  Monument Valley region, so a few of the formations can be seen.
A formation like a giant prehistoric creature

We are aiming for a place called Elephant Feet near Tuba City, Arizona, which appears to be a roadside stop where we can spend the night. As we approach Tuba City, we see a formation that looks like it could be the right place, but there is no sign, no other campers, and nothing to indicate that it is the right place. We go on, thinking that there may be something beyond, but there is not.

So we continue driving, keeping a watchful eye for a truck stop at Tuba City, and finding none we  keep going, reaching highway 89, where we turn south. It is dark by time we reach Cameron where there is a truck stop with a convenience store. We park in the back parking lot along with a few semi’s and a couple other RV travelers. We are grateful for finding a safe place to spend the night and the use of the convenience store. Although not very scenic, we do have a peaceful night.

Thursday December 14, 2017

We take our time getting ready to go this morning. I browse the gift shop which features Native American crafts, beautiful fabrics and pottery. When we arrive at Flagstaff, we pick up supplies before heading south on state highway 89 toward Prescott. Arriving there, it is too early in the day to look for the campground we saw indicated on the map. We have time to make it closer to our destination – the LaPaz Valley just south of Quartzsite.

Leaving Prescott, we wind our way over a mountain range, the Juniper Mountains, which looks relatively small on the map. Maps are great, but sometimes features are deceiving. Curve after curve after curve; slow, but very scenic.

The winding road over the mountain south of Prescott, Arizona

After I thought we were out of it, there was another section of narrow twisting roads near Yarnell and a state park dedicated to the 30 firefighters who lost their lives there in a forest fire just a few years ago.

Winding down the mountain toward the valley floor

We thought we would have access to BLM land just a ways beyond – a place to spend the night. However, when we got there, the road seemed to lead to a ranch. This was not what I was seeing on the map, so we decide to keep going on to Quartzsite.

Arizona landscape as we continue on

We drive into the sunset and arrive at Quartzsite while there is still twilight.

Sunset as we approach Quartzsite

The BLM land is only a few miles further on, south on highway 95. Luckily, we are familiar with the Roadrunner camping area just off the LaPaz Valley Road and are able to find a spot alongside a small wash with a good size mesquite tree to provide a homey spot where we can be faced the right direction to handle the wind. It is dark by time we are set up; we only plan to be here a couple of days, but it is a nice spot and no one close by.

We are glad to be here. Hard to believe we only left home yesterday afternoon.

Winter Journey – Back to BLM – February 2017

Sunday February 19th – We are grateful for the stay at the Walmart parking lot during the rain, but today we pack up and head back to the BLM area north of Joshua Tree. This time we go in on a better road and find a spot that is higher ground with some gravel. I am still not thrilled with it, but it is better than the first spot. It is not as trashy, so easier to clean up around our spot, and there is a creosote bush – something green and alive.

Back in the BLM land, but a slightly different area than before

I make a firepit by digging a shallow wide hole in the sand. Becka calls and while we talk, I walk down the road to the nearest houses, trying to figure out which house she and Mike lived in. My quiet-time today is a late afternoon walk, picking up trash across the desert and salvaging what I can for a campfire.

Blazer and Terry in the desert north of Joshua Tree

 My request to Higher Self: rather than being discontent when a great campsite is not available, be content and joyful no matter where we end up parking.

A creosote bush – alive and green – makes the desert more welcoming to me

Monday February 20th – Coolish morning, perfect for a campfire in the sand firepit.

Campfire and journal time

The neighbor, John, comes over, as he is interested in our solar panel. We visit a bit, and he will come back later to talk to Clifford. I make a pot of tea and write in my journal before getting on with the day. Sunny, so laptop is charged and I am able to do some editing today.

Play cello outside for a bit, but the wind comes up, so the session is short-lived. I cannot deal with the stand blowing over and music spilling all over.

Desert Cello

Later John comes over again to talk to Clifford. They have a good conversation, as he is also a scientist and they have similar veins of knowledge and experience. Although this BLM land is not that scenic to me, at least I feel peaceful being here.

Tuesday February 21st – Beautiful sunrise and I am doing my job per the birthday poem by Mary Oliver: I stand still, being astonished, loving the world, and feeling more connection to this rather barren land.

A rich sunrise, with vibrant red touching the clouds
A few minutes later the colors begin to mellow, less red, more orange.
And finally, much softer orange and yellow swirls of color
To the west, pretty pink lights up the mountain range between here and Los Angles.

I make a campfire and John comes over to visit and enjoy the campfire with me.

A campfire warms the chill morning air as the sun clears the horizon and melts the frost

Today Clifford and I have to make another trip to Yucca Valley, this time to get propane and water in preparation for our moving on. We go the Joshua Tree Saloon for lunch – Becka’s recommendation –and I browse the sweet gift shop next door, buying a few small gifts there.

Joshua Tree Saloon – looks like it has been here awhile
Lunch at the Joshua Tree Saloon
A neat gift shop

We go to the post office and pick all the mail that has been sent to us: our mail from a Wallace, a Quartzfest T-shirt for Clifford, and a backup battery for my laptop. Back at camp, John comes over with his son to talk to Clifford. I want to play cello, but again it is too windy.

Later, as the sun sets, the wind dies down – too late for cello, but I have a little campfire and sit out to write in the journal before going in to begin sorting six-weeks worth of mail.

Last campfire in the desert

Winter Journey – BLM Camping – February 2017

Wednesday, February 15th – We are up at 8:15 a.m. CT (Clifford Time, which is actually 6:15 a.m. in California – just so you know we are not slouches), packed, hooked up, and ready to leave by 11:15 a.m. I say good-bye to our desert home at Cottonwood Springs Campground and we are on our way.

Good-bye to our desert home at Cottonwood Springs Campground in Joshua Tree NP

We head north through the Joshua Tree National Park, passing by the Cholla Garden once again, and into new landscapes.

Cholla Garden

The land becomes even more boulder-strewn and the first Joshua trees appear.

Joshua trees begin to appear


Arriving at 29 Palms, we head west to the town of Joshua Tree. On the north side of town, there is an ancient now-dry lake bed that is a BLM dispersed camping area. Once we arrive, we pull off the rather narrow dirt road to set up camp. It is very barren land and I am not thrilled with it…. so different than the lush desert where we have been the past two week. There is only one type of shrub growing here, something that looks dead, across the entire expanse of desert. Not even any creosote, which seem to grow everywhere in the desert. We get set up and  then head to town to check out the post office.

Back at camp, I play cello – this is a good place for it – no neighbors near enough to be disturbed by my somewhat rusty playing. We have cell service here, so are able to check email and do texts without having to drive anywhere. So those are the good things about being here. It is interesting that my daughter Becka lived right near here and could look out on this desert from her backyard.

Thursday February 16th – Some clouds and a little breeze this morning. Harder to find a place that seems right for a morning quiet-time walk. There is plenty of desert here, but it is not inviting to me. Although not close, there are RV’s in every direction, nothing seems to be alive, and trash everywhere. I pick up trash in ever-widening circles around our campsite, but there are also no dumpsters, so we are stuck with whatever I pick up.

Today we go to Yucca Valley, about 10 or 12 miles from where we are camped, as we need supplies and the town of Joshua Tree is too small for shopping.

Back at camp, I play cello a bit. There is a forecast for heavy rain in parts of California, so I put everything that is outside under a tarp. I am a bit uneasy about what I am hearing about this rain, as it could be a lot. However, Clifford is not concerned, so here we are – even though he had to use the come-along to help a couple of fellows get unstuck from the mud just across the basin from us. Hmmm…….

Friday, February 17th – It is 31 degrees this morning, cloudy, and very windy.

Our campsite in the BLM north of Joshua Tree. Clouds speak of impending rain.

A local guy on a 4-wheeler comes by to warn us, and others, about staying if the rain develops as forecast. This dry lake bed will become a bog. He has had the experience of seeing people stuck out here for a month. Well, being stuck for a couple days is one thing, but being stuck for a month is something else. So we pack up and head to the Walmart at Yucca Valley to hang out until the rain passes. This gives us the opportunity to get a bit more shopping done, use a bathroom with flush toilets, and take care of internet business, since cell reception is good here.  In the cold and blustery wind, we walk to the Panda Express for dinner, which will save cooking and cleanup in our modified parking lot set up. There is rain in the evening and during the night, along with high winds. I am relieved to be here where we know we will not get stuck in the mud.

Saturday, February 18th – Light rain off and on all day. Doesn’t seem like as much rain came in as forecast, but better safe than sorry. Our bathroom is leaking through the light fixture, so obviously there was enough rain and wind to cause a bit of damage and leakage. I do only a limited amount of editing, as we cannot set up our solar panels to charge the laptop while we are here; there is no sunshine, anyway.

It is while we are here that our friend Dan in Tucson sends a cell pic of a 1999 Suburban that he thinks we might be interested in. It is for sale for a reasonable price and from talking to the owner, it seems that it has been well taken care of and is in good condition. So, after talking about it, we decide that we will return to Tucson to see and drive it. We have to stay in this area for a few more days to get mail that has been sent general delivery to Joshua Tree.  We will move back out to the desert tomorrow, but plans are made to begin the trip back to Tucson.